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Dieric Bouts and Hugo van der Goes, Martyrdom of Saint Hippolytus

Nature forms an important aspect in the painting of the Flemish Primitives. Plants, trees, water and vistas are regularly used in presentations that were dominated by figures. In the miniature art, on the contrary, landscapes were already portrayed around 1400, in which nearly no or only small figures are treated. One of the most well-known examples is Jan van Eyck's miniature of The Baptism of Christ in the Turin-Milan book of hours.

The landscape was by the 16th Century an independent theme in painting. However, figures remain a fixed element in the compositions, but have a diminished role. Joachim Patinir is the leading figure in the development of this genre. He specialises himself in landscape painting and allows the figures in his paintings to sometimes even be painted by other artists such as Quinten Massijs. The landscapes contain realistic details, however, make an unrealistic impression with the fantasy rockery and building constructions.

Anne van Oosterwijk